Amendments to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) have been made a priority bill due to the weak oversight the existing legislation offers on political talks across the Taiwan Strait, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tung (陳明通) said yesterday.
On Monday, the Executive Yuan unveiled a bill which proposes that cross-strait political talks must first undergo a referendum, thus necessitating a further amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法).
The Executive Yuan’s bill proposes plans for negotiations, which would need to be approved by two-thirds of legislators.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
The Executive Yuan could conduct a consultative referendum beforehand that need not be subject to the Referendum Act, a council version of the bill says.
Three-quarters of legislators would need to attend a discussion of the proposed negotiations, with no less than three-fourths of attending legislators to vote for the proposal before it would be put to a nationwide referendum.
Half of all eligible voters would then need to vote for the referendum, the council’s version of the bill says.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) is the main reason for the bill, Chen said, adding that cross-strait economic accords would not need to comply with such strict standards.
“As per the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, only the government or its authorized institutions can negotiate agreements with China... If the KMT has the opportunity to rule again, then it would have to meet the conditions stipulated by the act,” Wu said last week on UFO Breakfast hosted by Tang Hsiang-lung (唐湘龍).
Increased oversight of cross-strait political talks is in line with the “four musts” and “three defense mechanisms” mentioned by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her New Year’s Day address, Chen said, adding that it would prevent incidents such as former KMT legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) from ramming through legislation on cross-strait affairs in 2014.
A peace deal is a political tool with which China wishes to destroy Taiwan, as such an accord would define cross-strait affairs as an extension of the Chinese Civil War and not relations between two sovereign nations, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) said.
No political party or individual can represent Taiwanese and sign such a peace accord, as it would deprive future Taiwanese a chance to choose, Lai said.
“A peace treaty is never a guarantee of peace,” Lai said.
Meanwhile, the KMT yesterday issued a news release which said that the DPP’s criticism of “specific individuals” was motivated by concerns over next year’s elections.
Instead of proposing new regulations for peace deals, the DPP should uphold its promise to institutionalize oversight of cross-strait affairs by passing regulations for the oversight of cross-strait accords, the KMT said.
Oppression of the KMT via a majority in the legislature would not endear the DPP to the public and it should focus instead on the economy and issues that affect the daily lives of Taiwanese, the KMT said.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) of the KMT said that a presidential election is a form of referendum and that whoever wins could represent Taiwanese and “have the final say.”
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang and Chen Yu-fu
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